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Gum arabic sources, health benefits and uses

Friday, October 13, 2017 by

Gum arabic is a type of soluble fiber that is more commonly known as acacia gum. The nutrient is extracted from the sap of acacia trees found in sub-Saharan Africa. According to a Nutrients Review entry, gum arabic is composed of indigestible polysaccharides and glycoproteins that are then fermented by intestinal bacteria. Gum arabic is classified as nontoxic and is labelled Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

An article posted on the Your Health Remedy website noted that gum arabic is traditionally obtained from the Acacia nilotica tree and two other related species namely Acacia seyal and Acacia senegal. The nutrient is a widely used food additive in many countries and is usually added to snack foods and sweets such as marshmallows, gum drops, and Arabic desserts. It is also a popular thickening agent in sweets and confectionery, essential oils, and dairy products as well as soft drinks, canned foods, and soybean products.

Likewise, the pharmaceutical industry uses gum arabic as an emulsifying agent to help bind certain mixtures that usually do not blend well.  The soluble fiber is also utilized in other industrial applications including printing, cosmetics and textile production. Other products containing gum arabic include adhesives, shoe polish, glue, and paint.

Medicinal uses for gum arabic

Gum arabic is best known for its beneficial effects on the digestive tract. An entry featured on the Dr. Health Benefits website revealed that the soluble fiber helps ease bowel movement and promote good digestion. A previous study has demonstrated that gum arabic may bolster intestinal absorption as well. Aside from this, gum arabic is found to potentially inhibit the growth of the S. Aureus bacteria and mitigate the onset of subsequent diarrhea. The soluble fiber is also touted for its hepatoprotective properties that promote liver function and keep chronic liver disease at bay. The anti-bacterial properties of gum arabic is known to improve oral health too.

Likewise, gum arabic is notably effective in maintaining healthy blood glucose levels. The soluble fiber is also shown to induce healthy weight loss and lower bad cholesterol levels, making it particularly beneficial to the body’s cardiovascular profile. Gum arabic supports both the immune system and the respiratory tract as well. The nutrient is classified as a probiotic that facilitates the growth of good bacteria, which are expected to eventually fight and suppress the proliferation of bad bacteria.  Gum arabic is also known to combat oxidative stress and relieve sore throat and respiratory tract irritation.

The soluble fiber is also valued for its positive effects on the urinary system. A study published in 2004 has revealed that arabic gum supplementation has reduced the need for dialysis in young patients with end stage renal disease.

Body systems supported by gum arabic

Gum arabic is especially helpful in maintaining a healthy digestive profile. Likewise, the nutrient is beneficial to both the respiratory tract and the immune system. The soluble fiber may protect the heart and the kidneys as well.

Where to learn more


Gum Arabic relieves diarrhea, constipation, and liver disease.

Gum Arabic prevents sore throat, dental problems, and bacterial infection.

Gum Arabic effectively controls both blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

Gum Arabic combats oxidative stress and respiratory infections.

Gum Arabic reduces dialysis requirement for end stage renal disease.

Gum Arabic is particularly beneficial to both the digestive and respiratory tracts.

Gum Arabic supports the heart, kidneys and the immune system.

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